Steven High

Steven High
Concordia University Montreal · Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling

About

90
Publications
9,562
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443
Citations
Citations since 2016
34 Research Items
276 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060
20162017201820192020202120220102030405060

Publications

Publications (90)
Chapter
This chapter offers an international perspective to the comparative volume on two European regions, that is, the German Ruhr and the Italian Northwest. It reflects on the chapters of the volume and connects these with past and present trends in deindustrialization studies, which require careful analyses that illuminate the global connections betwee...
Article
This paper examines the political history of the failed struggle to require companies to justify their plant closing decisions in Canada’s industrial heartland of Ontario. Demands for the public review of plant closing decisions began, locally, in the auto town of Windsor in the 1950s and 1960s and reached Toronto with the closure of Dunlop Tire in...
Article
This study aims to develop computational techniques to analyze and identify points of tensions in interviews with survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Oral history interviews are a dialogical source composed of questions and answers, producing a conversational narrative Yet survivor testimony is often approached as though the questions did not e...
Article
Most studies of industrial heritage focus on specific sites with little regard for the wider politics of industrial heritage in deindustrialised areas. This volume demands that we go beyond this narrow focus and move towards regional studies and draw trans-regional comparisons. To that end, the collection (edited by Stefan Berger) offers us a serie...
Article
Alessandro Portelli: A Lifetime of Listening This interview brings together two prominent oral historians, Alessandro Portelli and Steven High. Taking a look back at Portelli’s two masterful frescoes—They Say in Harlan County. An Oral History (2011) and Biography of an Industrial Town. Terni, Italy, 1831-2014 (2017)—the Italian and Canadian oral hi...
Article
This article explores the structural violence of deindustrialization and the urban losses that result. It is a global story of mass displacement and dispossession but also an intensely local one that has devastated the working-class. But much of this history is submerged under a dominant, postindustrial, discourse that instills not only a sense of...
Article
Full-text available
Various multiple-disciplinary terms and concepts (although most commonly “interdisciplinarity,” which is used herein) are used to frame education, scholarship, research, and interactions within and outside academia. In principle, the premise of interdisciplinarity may appear to have many strengths; yet, the extent to which interdisciplinarity is em...
Article
This article explores the relationship between employment mobility, family fixity, and gentrification in the lives of 36 residents in and extended commuters to Montreal's southwest borough. Once described as the birthplace of industry in Canada, the neighbourhoods of Saint‐Henri, Little Burgundy and Point Saint‐Charles have undergone sweeping chang...
Chapter
This chapter explores the possibility that storytelling is emerging as an ethical and political counterpoint to more conventional ways that history is understood and engaged with in historical writing and public history production. Surging interest in storytelling is an expression of profound ill‐ease at the “foreign disciplinary gaze” that has tre...
Article
Oral history as a field of research, teaching, archival collection, community building or engagement, truth and reconciliation, and creative practice, emerged with the diffusion of the tape recorder in the 1960s and 1970s. This was a time of enormous social and political upheaval. As a result, oral history was quickly taken up by feminists, working...
Chapter
Full-text available
The sounds that we hear, or remember, contribute to the construction of a sense of place and of self. Historians dealing with the auditory world of the past have already established the historicity of sounds by exploring their meanings in the everyday lives of the people. This chapter explores the changing soundscape and the resulting sound politic...
Book
Since the 1970s, the closure of mines, mills, and factories has marked a rupture in working-class lives. The Deindustrialized World interrogates the process of industrial ruination, from the first impact of layoffs in metropolitan cities, suburban areas, and single-industry towns to the shock waves that rippled outward, affecting entire regions, co...
Article
Until the 1950s, most black men in Montreal worked for the railway companies as sleeping car porters, dining car employees, and red caps. The city’s English-speaking black community took root in Little Burgundy because it was close to Windsor and Bonaventure train stations. The area between Saint-Henri and Griffintown, north of the Lachine Canal, i...
Article
Until the 1950s, most black men in Montreal worked for the railway companies as sleeping car porters, dining car employees, and red caps. The city’s English-speaking black community took root in Little Burgundy because it was close to Windsor and Bonaventure train stations. The area between Saint-Henri and Griffintown, north of the Lachine Canal, i...
Article
Working at the mill had been a family affair for generations of Sturgeon Falls' mill workers, as young men followed their fathers, uncles, older brothers, and occasionally mothers, into the Northern Ontario mill - the town's largest employer for more than a century. The mill's workforce was overwhelmingly white and male, with a historic linguistic...
Article
This book opens with Gordon Young sleeping on the floor of a vacant home in the Carriage Town neighborhood of Flint, Michigan—one of America’s most depressed cities. Time magazine declared the city the country’s most dangerous in 2007, so Young slept with his “security blanket”—an aluminum baseball bat. Made famous by Michael Moore’s 1989 film Roge...
Article
Funding agencies in North America and Europe are now committed to the promotion of a culture of sharing of qualitative interview data. This shifting perspective has proven to be controversial in some disciplines, especially where group authority and identity rest on fieldwork rather than on the secondary reuse or analysis of "other people's data."...
Chapter
From Wiki Leaks, whistleblowers, documentary exposés, and personal testimonies, to reality television, consumer databases, and social media, we are all increasingly caught up in a ‘confessional mode’ where going public is the rule more than the exception. The confessional mode appears in academic writing across the humanities, social sciences, and...
Article
Full-text available
This research note analyzes a Quebec-based oral history contest, "Memory of a Bygone Era," which collected nearly a thousand recordings in the 1980s. By returning to this impressive initiative, the co-authors aim to shed light not only on the particular understanding of the emergence of oral history in Quebec, but also on the social context that ga...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines 40 years of multi‐disciplinary scholarship on deindustrialization in North America and the United Kingdom. This field of research emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as a political response to successive waves of mill and factory closures that devastating industrial towns and cities, displacing millions. A way of life seemed to be...
Conference Paper
Our access to human rights violation data has increased with the growing number and size of data collections. We have been combining text-mining and visualization techniques to facilitate big data analysis in human rights research. Taking a user-centered approach, we first surveyed the human rights research literature to understand reported data an...
Article
Full-text available
This special issue on Crumbling Cultures, the first to appear on deindustrialization in a labor history journal, confirms the historiographical trend away from displaced industrial workers themselves and the cultural meaning of job loss, to a wider reflection on the cultural consequences and representations of deindustrialization. The subject, here...
Article
Full-text available
Building on the work of sound artists Miller and Cardiff, oral historian Butler, as well as the broader insights gleaned from the Montréal Life Stories project, this paper considers space-time dissonance in the making of Une Fleur dans le Fleuve/A Flower in the River, a 53 minute audio walk following the same commemorative path taken by the Rwandan...
Article
Full-text available
Tens of thousands of oral history interviews sitting in archival drawers, on computer hard drives, or on library bookshelves have never been listened to. Thousands of new interviews are being added each year by the many large testimony projects now underway, including Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Historica–Dominion Institute...
Article
If Holocaust survivor testimony has been the subject of enormous public attention, the educational activism of these survivors has been largely overlooked. Recorded interviews, like public testimonies, have tended to focus on their wartime experiences and specifically the violence they endured. Consequently, little time has been spent exploring the...
Article
Jeremy Brecher has spent much of the past 35 years documenting the rise and fall of the brass industry in the Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut. The Brass Workers History Project was initiated in the late 1970s, resulting in a popular history book and documentary film. It was an inspiring early example of community-university collaboration in the fie...
Article
Labour Landmarks / Lieux historiques ouvriers is one of the many public history outcomes of a remarkable Community-University Research Alliance project that has sought to reconnect New Brunswick residents with their labouring past and present. The public memory of the work lives and activism of trade unionists is often peripheral to our understandi...
Chapter
Rejecting the sedentary nature of current research practices, a growing number of scholars in the humanities and social sciences have embraced mobile methodologies and immersive technologies like global positioning system (GPS) activated or downloadable audio tours. The new “mobilities paradigm” is encouraging scholars to engage with the materialit...
Article
Full-text available
Stories Matter is new oral history database building software designed by an interdisciplinary team of oral historians and a software engineer affiliated with the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It encourages a shift away from transcription, enabling oral historians to continue t...
Article
In January 1941, the hulking twenty-one thousand ton troopship Edmund B. Alexander docked in St John's harbor, carrying a thousand American soldiers sent to join the thousands of Canadian troops protecting Newfoundland against attack by Germany. France had fallen, Great Britain was fighting for its survival, and Newfoundland - then a dominion of Br...
Article
Full-text available
New media and the arts are transforming how we think and do 'oral history'. While the changes are many and the current situation is certainly fluid, the most exciting possibilities are emerging after the interview. This is an important point as oral historians have been so focussed on the making of the interview that we have spent remarkably little...
Article
Full-text available
A commitment to sharing authority is a beginning, not a destination—and the beginning of a necessarily complex, demanding process of social and self discovery. There are no easy answers or formulas and no simple lessons. What follows is an exploration into the methodology, ethics, and politics of university-community collaboration in humanities and...
Article
A commitment to sharing authority is a beginning, not a destination—and the beginning of a necessarily complex, demanding process of social and self discovery. There are no easy answers or formulas and no simple lessons. (Frisch 2003, 112) What follows is an exploration into the methodology, ethics, and politics of university-community collaboratio...
Article
Cathy Stanton won the 2007 National Council for Public History's book prize for The Lowell Experiment, an empirically grounded study of public historians at work in a former Massachusetts textile mill town. The author situates the founding of Lowell National Historical Park (1978) in the context of the rise of public history and the emergence of th...
Chapter
Thousands of people streamed into Woodford Square in the heart of Port of Spain on the morning of April 22, 1960 to hear a speech by Eric Williams, chief minister of Trinidad. This was not unusual. Ever since the People’s National Movement (PNM) swept to power in 1956, just eight months after its formation, thousands had regularly converged on the...
Chapter
Journalist Joseph M. Jones claimed in the February 1944 issue of Fortune Magazine that pro-American feeling in the British Caribbean had dwindled over the course of the war. The goodwill generated by the creation of thousands of jobs on the U.S. bases had been largely squandered, he argued—a victim of Jim Crow racism. To illustrate his point, Jones...
Chapter
On the eve of the Second World War, Stephenville represented the largest and most prosperous settlement in the district of St. George’s—Port au Port on Newfoundland’s isolated west coast.1 Aggregate census data show that the village had experienced steady population growth since 1901, reaching nearly 1,000 inhabitants in 1935.2 This mainly French-s...
Chapter
President Franklin D. Roosevelt read his message to Congress inside his rail car only after it pulled out of Charleston, West Virginia, and rolled along the Kanawha River on September 3, 1940. He waited for the newspapermen traveling with him to file into his small sitting room that normally sat seven or eight comfortably but now had to accommodate...
Chapter
The control of wartime labor reached its apex in tiny Bermuda. Given the white merchant elite’s proclivity to use the power of the state to advance its economic interests, it is not altogether surprising that it would find in the segregated Panama Canal Zone a ready model. It has already been established that tourists and year-round visitors were d...
Chapter
Full-text available
Bermuda stands alone in the mid-Atlantic, 750 nautical miles southeast of New York City. The “fish hook” shaped archipelago consists of a string of sixty small islands of coral formation fifteen miles long. The warm currents of the Gulf Stream have produced a subtropical climate rich in vegetation and fertile soil. Hilly and uneven, the entire land...
Chapter
One of the many issues raised by these occupations, friendly or otherwise, is the thorny matter of criminal jurisdiction. In the difficult negotiations that followed the initial exchange of notes, the United States insisted that American servicemen not be subject to local courts. The British authorities resisted these demands, as did the base colon...
Chapter
Newfoundland’s close proximity to North Atlantic shipping lanes and to the Great Circle route used for transatlantic aviation made it of tremendous strategic value to the United States and Canada. The United States built four sprawling bases in Newfoundland: Fort Pepperrell on the outskirts of the city of St. John’s; a second army post, Fort McAndr...
Chapter
“The world had narrowed,” wrote journalist Hanson W. Baldwin in January 1940. “Airplanes span oceans and continents, leap the seas that once were barriers.”1 The stunning fall of France four months later seemed to confirm this new reality; Americans no long felt secure behind their oceanic moats. Writing again in the New York Times, Baldwin observe...
Article
List of Figures List of Tables Acknowledgements Introduction The United States and Hemispheric Defense The Tourism Politics of Base Location in Bermuda Working for Uncle Sam in Newfoundland "You Can't Eat Dignity": Race and Labor in the British Caribbean Building Bases on a Jim Crow Island The American Occupation of Stephenville, Newfoundland The R...
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Full-text available
The contributions to this special issue exemplify the cultural turn of the study of nationalism. Although a concern with the narrative construction of national identity runs through the articles in this volume, it is tempered by the authors' inclination to explore the middle ground of social and cultural practices. By asking how Canadians "internal...
Book
Plant shutdowns in Canada and the United States from 1969 to 1984 led to an ongoing and ravaging industrial decline of the Great Lakes Region. Industrial Sunset offers a comparative regional analysis of the economic and cultural devastation caused by the shutdowns, and provides an insightful examination of how mill and factory workers on both sides...
Article
During the economic slowdown of the 1970s and early 1980s, Ontario trade unionists literally wrapped themselves in the maple leaf flag in order to defy foreign-owned companies that wished to abandon workers with little or no compensation on plant closings. The workers' efforts were not in vain, as the flag's teflon-coating at least partially preven...
Article
Full-text available
Traditionally, historians have preferred to rely on "common sense" approaches to the meaning of community, but such definitions, emphasizing the ideas of a shared place and a static, self-contained entity, are simply inadequate for historical research and writing. Three elements are fundamental to understanding the historical significance of commun...
Article
Full-text available
The municipal ownership idea found fertile soil on the rocky north shore of Lake Superior. The predominance of local land ownership, the absence of large industrial employers and a small population hwee religion and ethnicity eased potential class differences created a climate conducive to collective action in Port Athur. The degree of conflict or...
Article
Roger & Me, Michael Moore's irreverent 1989 film documentary about cor- porate greed and the hollowness of the American Dream, propelled Flint, Michigan into the North American limelight. The fall of Moore's home town was a decidedly sharp one. To the upbeat music of the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice," Moore showed his audience what Flint had be...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
In this research program, we first analyzed the human rights research literature to understand the reported data sources, and data analysis methods and software programs. We next surveyed human rights researchers through interviews and online questionnaires to further understand these issues. In the current stage of this research program, we have been working with an oral history research community to understand and support the curation and analysis of survivor testimonies. It is sometimes said that we live in an age of testimony. Eyewitness accounts of survivors of past mass violence are valuable in our current society. Digital environments are now central conduits for the global circulation of these stories, which allows first-person testimony to be increasingly used in human rights research and advocacy. Taking the word “curate” at its root meaning of “caring for,” as Lehrer and Milton suggest (2011), we develop innovative ways to curate survivor testimony so we can listen and analyze across, between and within individual life story recordings without losing the life story context. Our first prototype, Clock-based Keyphrase Map (CKM), uses machine learning and information visualization techniques to automatically identify common themes across different interviews and present them in a visual format. A short video about this prototype is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yy1xCjC-Hk